In all the whirlwind of aliyah, of noting Jerusalem Day, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Independence Day, we have not forgotten that in the States, today is Memorial Day.
My family salutes the men and women of the American armed forces who have, generation after generation, offered their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to preserve the American Republic and its ideals of democracy and freedom. Those of you in uniform today and those of you who have served your nation in years past---we salute you. We honor you. We will not forget you and we will strive to uphold those ideals you and countless others before you fought to preserve.
Richard Henry Lee, a colonial delegate from Virginia, introduced the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence in June 1776, and concluded his remarks thus:
"Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repost."
My ancestors found refuge in the United States when persecution and starvation stalked their families. They found solace, repost and an opportunity to provide their children with a future free of tyranny and oppression because of that Declaration of Independence and the generations since then who shed their blood to preserve American freedoms.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.